Sex Is a God Thing
We believe it is important to help create a safe space for queer women of color (QWOC) who are grappling with the intersectionality of spirituality, sexuality, gender, and race; for them to feel & be humanized.
Keep it Colorful
Inclusion StatementUp until very recently, with the success of Lena Waithe and Samira Wiley, there's been little queer women of color representation in the media. We want the generations behind us to have a reflection of themselves; to know that it is safe to live out loud fully and unapologetically.
About The Project
When two queer women of color connect as long lost sisters, they must lament the recent loss of their father, repair their broken relationships, and reconcile their childhood religiosity with their identities as Black lesbians.
Michelle and Aiesha discover they are sisters, after their father, Rasheed, falls gravely ill. A family brought together through grief, uncovers a hurricane of secrets spanning over twenty years. Michelle and Aiesha are forced to form an intense bond almost immediately. This sisterhood becomes the support and love they both deeply craved while growing up in the spotlight of two religious homes. Through the deepening of their bond, we witness two women, rocked by the storm of life, reclaim their pleasure, joy and self-love.
(Season 1 will consist of seven episodes, ranging from 10-15 minutes in length.)
SEX IS A GOD THING is currently in post-production for the pilot episode (episode 1). We are employing a reputable Chicago-based full post-production and audio recording studio to complete edits.
We will begin production of the entire season 1 later this year. We thank you for supporting this series and we can't wait to show you the completed season!
SEX IS A GOD THING web-series is built on the 2014 original short of the same title. Over the last four years, the short has reached over 22 million views across all social media platforms; from Oakland, California to Johannesburg, South Africa. We have been featured on For Harriet, Blavity, Lil Duval's platforms, Shade Room & more.
We have used this new visibility and larger platform to continue to educate women on the importance of allowing themselves to experience pleasure in a multitude of ways, allowing them the freedom to lead extraordinary lives. With the creative direction of the show, we hope to foster an opportunity for rich dialogue with the show community around betrayal, grief, healing from sexual assault and dealing with loss. The impact of the show can go so far beyond great entertainment. As the show progresses, we would like to create safe spaces online and in-person for QWOC to come together to learn, connect and celebrate with other like-minded people...
The series will be in collaboration with We Are Open TV, a platform for intersectional pilots and series, supporting Chicago artists in producing and exhibiting indie series. We Are Open TV will serve as Co-Producer, and will be the series' Digital Distributor!
MICHELLE (31) is a body-confident voluptuous woman and dance therapist to children. Soon after marrying Vonne, Michelle suffered a miscarriage. She has been healing herself before going back to work, but the marriage also seems to be in need of healing as well. (Played by Rashida Khanbey-Miller)
AIESHA (28) is an overworked public defender, looking to eventually rise to become a dynamic civil rights advocate, like her father, Rasheed, unbeknownst to her. Aiesha struggles to accept Jo’s recent marriage proposal, but has yet to find the heart or the words to express that to Jo. (Played by Chanel Glover)
VONNE (33) is a fit and masculine-centered queer Black woman, and Michelle's partner. She is a marginally successful real estate agent, whose focus on being the lesbian Toni (Girlfriends), often overshadows her other priorities, mainly Michelle. She doesn’t desire to, but blames Michelle for the miscarriage.
JO (25) is a gentle, understanding, masculine-centered Black woman. She manages her mother’s (Lily) cafe, and patiently awaits Aiesha's answer to her recent marriage proposal.
DEBRA (57) is a partially put together Black woman, who seems to thrive on socializing. She is Michelle’s mother, and Rasheed’s ex-wife. She often finds herself at the center of the drama, mostly because she is the source, or the river where all things must flow through.
JESSIE (55) is a Black woman enigma, and fierce orator. She can be the most compassionate human in the room, but also at times the most unaffected. She is a senior pastor for a progressive church, and the mother of Aiesha. She loves hard and deep, and when she is cut, she is scarred for life; except with Debra.
RASHEED (61) is a retired revolutionary, who is now fighting the hardest battle of his life: his health. He was once married to Debra and is the father of both Michelle and Aiesha. He has authored several Black activism books and was one of the original Black Panther Chicago chapter members.
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About This Team
Rashida Khanbey-Miller is the Creator, Executive Producer & Lead Actor in micro films "Let Go & Let God" produced by OpenTV and "Sex Is A God Thing" produced by Unraveling Our History Productions (Rashida's Chicago based Film/TV Production Co, formerly known as Woman Untamed Productions)., Her 2014 film "Sex Is A God Thing" has now accumulated over 22 million views across all social media platforms. By day, Rashida is a transdisciplinary Artist, Speaker & Writer born and raised in Chicago, has devoted her work to creating woman centered self-care and wellness experiences that empower us to reconnect to our bodies, shamelessly embrace our sexuality and lead joyful lives on our own terms.
Chanel Glover is a ‘trained’ lawyer, teacher, and playwright, with a focus on screenwriting, lyricism and fiction. May 2014, she completed an MFA in playwriting at Ohio University where her full-length plays HOW TO EAT AN OREO, BLACK AS THE DIRT, and THEY’RE NOT RAPPERS received staged readings at Ohio University’s Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival. Chanel served as one of six playwrights in terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwrights Group in 2015. She was screenwriter for the trending SEX IS A GOD THING short in 2014. For nearly a year, starting in the summer of 2016, Chanel served as co-host and producer of a podcast, OVERQUALIFIED & DRUNK, where she dished about all of her dating and life secrets. She retired from the secondary school teaching profession after only two years, and made the recent move from NYC to LA, where she is pursuing the dream.
Zarinah Ali is a Chicago based artist with a BFA in Theatre Performance from UIC. Although she has a background in acting, directing, and producing black box theatre, she has been pursuing directing and producing for TV and short films since 2014 with Sex Is A God Thing's original inception. In 2015, she directed "Let Go and Let God" for Woman Untamed Productions presented by Open TV which was most recently featured at the Queer Women of Color Film Festival in 2016. In 2017, she was production coordinator on NFL Film’s documentary series All or Nothing: The Dallas Cowboys. In addition to Sex Is A God Thing: The Webseries, Zarinah is currently working in the production office on “Queen of The South” with Fox21 Television Studios for USA Network. She is thrilled at the prospect of supporting and creating intersectional work that represents, uplifts, & nourishes Queer POC folk.
Miller was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of The Ohio State University. Miller is the Executive Producer of Operations & Logistics for SIAGT web series. As a queer, masculine of center, POC working in Executive Leadership For 15+ years, they know first hand some of the challenges that other QWOC have faced in gaining access to resources, education and the basics of being humanized in the work place. Those challenges have fueled their work as a mentor, educator and cultural producer. Miller believes that more stories about queer Black women’s experiences are needed, and will create an opportunity to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Aymar Jean Christian is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of Communication, Cinema Journal, Continuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. He leads OTV | Open Television, a research project and platform for intersectional television. OTV programs have received recognition from HBO, the Television Academy (Emmy Awards), New York Television Festival, City of Chicago, Streamy Awards, and Independent Filmmaker Project (Gotham Awards). Its programming partners have included the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Block Museum of Art, and City of Chicago, along with numerous galleries, community organizations, and universities. Dr. Christian's blog, Televisual, is an archive of over 500 posts chronicling the rise of the web TV market, and he has written regular reports on TV and new media for Indiewire, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Tubefilter. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
A PREVIEW OF THE CAST
Deja Anderson-Ross (Playing JO): was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. She began her acting and dance career at the age of nine at ETA creative arts center. Her acting credits include the independent film “3” produced by Dgainz and the stage play “Condition of Femme” by Circle Theater. Her dance credits include the film “Chi-raq” directed by Spike Lee and she is a member of Urban Interface dance company UK. Her training includes studying theatre and dance at the University of East London. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Columbia College Chicago.
Stephanie Gray (Playing VONNE), a BA, MS- Author, Motivational Speaker, and Love Coach, Stephanie is the writer of 10 Universal Rules of Love–Plus One.Currently calling Chicago home, Gray is a Detroit native, former international professional basketball player, B.A. (University of Detroit Mercy), M.S. (California University of Pennsylvania) holder, and 15-year healthcare sales executive who is transitioning to a career of writing. Studying to earn her MS Exercise Science and currently a PhD in Psychology, Gray developed her theory of human relativity. Through authoring books and other creative outlets, Gray seeks to demonstrate how the human condition (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) can be healed when we recognize and respect how each component of our individual humanity is interconnected and are interdependent on one another; just as all of humanity is.
Gray seeks to touch each reader or participant on an atomic level by approaching life’s inevitable triumphs and challenges with respect, authenticity, and encouragement. Gray’s engaging conversational style of writing and speaking invites participants to become active listeners and to leave with an insight, or different perspective on their own lives that they did not come with, which will ultimately propel them towards their personal Graytness.
Kristiana Rae Colón (Playing YOUNG DEBRA) is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, creator of #BlackSexMatters and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She was awarded 2017 Best Black Playwright by The Black Mall. In 2016, her plays good friday had its world premiere at Oracle Productions, Octagon its American premiere at Jackalope Theater in Chicago, and but i cd only whisper had its American premiere at The Flea in New York. Octagon was the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work, and had its 2015 world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London. In 2013, she toured the UK for two months with her collection of poems promised instruments, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize and published by Northwestern University Press. Kristiana is an alum of the Goodman Theater's Playwrights Unit where she developed florissant & canfield, an epic reimagining of the Ferguson protests, which was featured in the 2016 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Kristiana’s writing, producing, and organizing work to radically reimagine power structures, our complicity in them, and visions for liberation.
Hannah (Playing YOUNG JESSE) is a queer globetrotting Chicago South Side native with a background in movement work, ethnography, and international human rights. Through her passion project company she is an ambassador for tour experiences with a focus on culture, cuisine, and community. Through this company she also functions as a consultant to develop workshops and panels which thus far have especially focused on love, sex, and relationships.
Separately, Hannah is an attorney by trade and owns HJB Legal Services, Ltd., where she creates family law solutions that are centered around complete family input and collaboration.
Amariss Harris (Playing DR. LEE) hails from North Little Rock, AR, and is ecstatic to be featured in another Chicago film production. For over 10 years, Amariss has dedicated her life to performing arts including theater, dance, singing, and poetry. She pursued her Bachelors of Theater at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and at Jacksonville University in Florida. She holds the title of Arkansas's Best Talent Competition winner (2014) and has won several awards for her writing and performance skills. Her favorite theatre credits include 'Mother of the Dark Water' (MPAACT) and "A Cloud of Women: (Ananepho) Her favorite film credits include 'The Lover' (B.A.B.P), 'Seven' (Lavallais Pictures) and 'The Unlearners' (Comperat). Amariss is currently starring as Judge Shanklin in Dane Campbell's 'Roomies 2' at Stage 773 which opens August 30, 2018. You can follow her journey by visiting her website at amarissharris.com and on social media at Amariss Harris (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).